The holidays are coming to a close, which means the start to another new year. I love the beginning of January, when the decorations are put away, and everything looks stark and clean and filled with possibility. The days start getting longer, and we start planning ahead, diagramming what another year should look like, and how it will unfold into the years beyond.

We had a nice little Christmas in the Dolby house, filled with the smell of delicious cooking, carols on the stereo, and the chatter of little ones, which fluctuated between excited, exhausted, and overstimulated in turns. For Dave and me, a set of his-and-hers snow shoes waited under the tree. I thought for sure this would mean we wouldn’t see snow again for a good ten years, but my mother, never one to be found empty-handed when faced with a “batteries not included” sticker, had made arrangements with the powers that be for some white fluffy stuff on which to try our new gear.

I ran into Willy Bishop last week, and he asked what exactly he had to do to make it into my column. I was thrilled, as I’m more used to the muttered aside, “This isn’t going in your column, is it?”

So my answer to you, Willy, is not much! Ask, and you shall receive. Now that I’ve made him famous, should you require an autograph, you can find Officer Bishop behind the wheel of an Edgartown patrol car most days.

Jay and Russell Swartz were thrilled to play host to daughter and son-in-law Amy and Greg Ellrodt and grandson Charlie this Christmas. Charlie is quite a charming little fellow, who was proud to announce with two fingers raised exactly how old he is.

In light of the recent storm, I thought it would be helpful to remind you all about a couple of emergency notification systems available to Edgartown residents. The town offers an urgent notification text message system to notify the community of emergencies and other urgent issues. The easiest way to opt in is to text the word ALERT to 68398. You can also join via a link on the town’s web site, www.edgartown-ma.us. In addition, the county offers a Code Red telephone notification system, which you can also access on the town’s web site.

The Edgartown Library has just purchased access for all patrons to two of the most powerful genealogical tools now available on the Internet. Just visit the library, sit down at any of the public computers (or bring your laptop and sign into the wireless network), and visit either the Ancestry Library or HeritageQuest. Ancestry Library Edition offers a wide variety of unique content allowing you to trace your family history. HeritageQuest Online is a treasury of American genealogical sources, rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, and finding aids. So if you’re interested in learning more about your roots, go make use of this cool service.

A belated happy birthday to Miss Emma Toomey, who blew out seven candles December 26. I still remember that Christmas seven years ago when we eagerly awaited her arrival. I hope you had a lovely day, little friend.

Additional birthday wishes go out to Holly Bruguiere, January 1; Deb Elias, January 4; and Jake Sylvia, January 5. May this be the beginning of another exciting trip around the sun.

I hope you all enjoy your New Year’s Eve. Whether you are rocking out with the Boogies at the Wharf, or staying in with a movie and a pizza, here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2011. See you next year!